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You Need to Punctuate. Period.

Hey, y’all! You ready for another post on writing tips?

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Punctuation is yet another very important part in writing. Without it, many things wouldn’t make sense – or worse, many things may come across differently. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to read long sentences without commas? No? Well, here’s an example out of my absolute favorite book: David Copperfied, by Charles Dickens.

Keep in mind, this is one sentence!

“My mother was sitting by the fire, but poorly in health, and very low in spirits, looking at it through her tears, and desponding heavily about herself and the fatherless little stranger, who was already welcomed by some grosses of prophetic pins, in a drawer upstairs, to a world not at all excited on the subject of his arrival–my mother, I say, was sitting by the fire that bright, windy March afternoon, very timid and sad, and very doubtful of ever coming alive out of the trial that was before her, when, lifting her eyes as she dried them to the window opposite, she saw a strange lady coming up the garden.”

Now, without commas – or in fact, no punctuation at all.

“My mother was sitting by the fire but poorly in health and very low in spirits looking at it through her tears and desponding heavily about herself and the fatherless little stranger who was already welcomed by some grosses of prophetic pins in a drawer upstairs to a world not at all excited on the subject of his arrival my mother I say was sitting by the fire that bright windy March afternoon very timid and sad and very doubtful of ever coming alive out of the trial that was before her when lifting her eyes as she dried them to the window opposite she saw a strange lady coming up the garden”

Quite a bit of difference, corretta? The first example was as written – a very long sentence indeed, but so brilliantly phrased that one hardly notices. The second is just a jumble of words that do have potential, yet, seem as they run on without thought.

Commas help to phrase. They are not left out that often, so I shan’t stall too long on them. My word of advice is – don’t “scatter commas like grass seed” (to quote Betsy Ray’s father in the Betsy-Tacy series)!

One thing that I see people do a lot, especially if they are writing from a phone, is to miss their punctuation. 1) they may not punctuate at all and 2) they mis-punctuate.

A common mis-punctuation is to leave a period instead of a question mark. Believe me, I’ve done this too! It’s like saying, “Hi Aria, how are you.” It’s very easy to mis-punctuate, so just always proofread your emails!

Another, even more common mis-punctuation is to actually, not punctuate at all! This happens quite often when you’re using a phone. I’ve done this numerous times during texting, because I’ll double tap the space to get a period. Unfortunately, sometimes my finger moves, resulting in “Okay, I’ll make macaroni and cheese b” See? It’s easy.

My word of advice for punctuation is, always proofread. If you’re not sure, evaluate the sentence. Is it a statement? Put a period. Is it exciting? Exclamation mark. Is it a question? Question mark.

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